Tesla is fond of talking about the safety potential of its Autopilot and upcoming autonomous driving technologies, but it’s rare that we get the chance to see them in action potentially saving lives. That’s the case with this video of Tesla’s Autopilot 8.0 software in action, which employs radar tech to be able to see around objects that would block a human driver’s field of vision.
In this case, the Tesla Forward Collision Warning system (which sends an audible alert when a driver might be in danger of crashing into something ahead of the vehicle) sounds before you can even see the car immediately in front of the driver’s Tesla Model X braking. Why? It seems to have sensed the SUV in front of that vehicle coming to a sudden stop, which the smaller vehicle which ends up rear-ended it did not notice in time.
This looks like it could’ve been a prime candidate for a pileup, including the Model X that captured the video, but instead as the dashcam footage shows, the vehicle not only alerted the driver about the potential collision but even started applying its emergency braking system before he himself could react and do so. The result is that the Model X stops well back of the collision (in which all parties luckily turned out to be okay, beyond the vehicle damage).
Previous footage captured by Tesla drivers have shown other safety features, including how its instant acceleration can help avoid the kind of rear-ending that happens to the other vehicle ahead of the Tesla in this video. Tesla CEO Elo Musk also aims to field full autonomy in test capacity by the end of 2017, which the company believes will help boost its safety potential even further.